Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal and Indore will have driverless light metro rail instead of metro rail which the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has agreed to finance, according to officials of the Madhya Pradesh Metro Rail Company.
However, the central government is expected to give a go-ahead to by June -end. The state government had submitted the detailed project report to the centre on January 19.
The light metro rail will be 70% cheaper than the metro rail. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has developed light metro rail system for the tier 2 cities of the country. Officer on special duty Kamal Nagar said the light metro rail would be very effective in Bhopal as it would offer a fast mode of transport to the residents. He also busted the myth that light metros are slower than metro.
According to officials, there is a lot of demand for metro rail from second tier cities because of traffic congestion and concern about pollution but high cost is a problem. A kilometre of underground for metro trains costs Rs 400 crore and elevated line costs Rs 200 crore. But, light metro rail will be cheaper.
Bhopal metro will have an advanced signalling system— Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) — based on the lines of light rail in Denmark capital, Copenhagen allowing driverless trains to operate on the 85-km proposed stretch in the state capital.
The MPMRCL officials said, “We will abide by law of the land.” According to estimates, many people living along Link Road No. 3 and Saket Nagar would be impacted in the first phase of the project.
The project will cost about R7000 crore in total. About 20% of the project that is R1400 crore will be given by the central government, the rest 80% will be given as loan by the JICA.
The JICA will send its first installment by November for the project in Bhopal. A total sum of R5600 crore will be given as a loan to the state government in four installments, officials said.
The Japanese agency was in Bhopal for about a month to evaluate the areas and conditions here. While officials maintained that ‘acquisition’ of properties will not be needed for Bhopal metro, reality stuck them when questioned by the JICA delegation. During a visit to Awadhpuri, BHEL, a JICA representative questioned a state government official over slums on a path that is scheduled to be developed for Metro. “We do not displace people for development. I hope these people will not be uprooted,” he said.
The Madhya Pradesh Metro Rail Company is headed by chief minister and has urban development minister as its vice-chairman.
The proposal of metro covers a stretch of 73 km and six routes. The maximum connectivity of metro would be from the Bhopal and Habibganj Railway stations. Both the stations will be covered by route 2. Route 3 will start from Raja Bhoj Airport.
Bhopal Municipal Corporation commissioner Chavvi Bharadwaj said,“ the work of the BMC will only start once the centre approves the DPR and relocation of people takes place.”